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Fight Club: A Novel Paperback – October 17, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton (October 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393327345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393327342
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,077 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The only person who gets called Ballardesque more often than Chuck Palahniuk is, well... J.G. Ballard. So, does Portland, Oregon's "torchbearer for the nihilistic generation" deserve that kind of treatment? Yes and no. There is a resemblance between Fight Club and works such as Crash and Cocaine Nights in that both see the innocuous mundanities of everyday life as nothing more than the severely loosened cap on a seething underworld cauldron of unchecked impulse and social atrocity. Welcome to the present-day U.S. of A. As Ballard's characters get their jollies from staging automobile accidents, Palahniuk's yuppies unwind from a day at the office by organizing bloodsport rings and selling soap to fund anarchist overthrows. Let's just say that neither of these guys are going to be called in to do a Full House script rewrite any time soon.

But while the ingredients are the same, Ballard and Palahniuk bake at completely different temperatures. Unlike his British counterpart, who tends to cast his American protagonists in a chilly light, holding them close enough to dissect but far enough away to eliminate any possibility of kinship, Palahniuk isn't happy unless he's first-person front and center, completely entangled in the whole sordid mess. An intensely psychological novel that never runs the risk of becoming clinical, Fight Club is about both the dangers of loyalty and the dreaded weight of leadership, the desire to band together and the compulsion to head for the hills. In short, it's about the pride and horror of being an American, rendered in lethally swift prose. Fight Club's protagonist might occasionally become foggy about who he truly is (you'll see what I mean), but one thing is for certain: you're not likely to forget the book's author. Never mind Ballardesque. Palahniukian here we come! --Bob Michaels --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Featuring soap made from human fat, waiters at high-class restaurants who do unmentionable things to soup and an underground organization dedicated to inflicting a violent anarchy upon the land, Palahniuk's apocalyptic first novel is clearly not for the faint of heart. The unnamed (and extremely unreliable) narrator, who makes his living investigating accidents for a car company in order to assess their liability, is combating insomnia and a general sense of anomie by attending a steady series of support-group meetings for the grievously ill, at one of which (testicular cancer) he meets a young woman named Marla. She and the narrator get into a love triangle of sorts with Tyler Durden, a mysterious and gleefully destructive young man with whom the narrator starts a fight club, a secret society that offers young professionals the chance to beat one another to a bloody pulp. Mayhem ensues, beginning with the narrator's condo exploding and culminating with a terrorist attack on the world's tallest building. Writing in an ironic deadpan and including something to offend everyone, Palahniuk is a risky writer who takes chances galore, especially with a particularly bizarre plot twist he throws in late in the book. Caustic, outrageous, bleakly funny, violent and always unsettling, Palahniuk's utterly original creation will make even the most jaded reader sit up and take notice. Movie rights to Fox 2000.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's novels are the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Lullaby, Survivor, Haunted, and Invisible Monsters. Portions of Choke have appeared in Playboy, and Palahniuk's nonfiction work has been published by Gear, Black Book, The Stranger, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Usually great books are either turned into mediocre films or else great films are made from mediocre books (and we won't even get into the sordid details of the novelizations). Fight Club is one of the rare instances where a great film was made from a great book. It is perhaps unfair to mention the film version while discussing the book as they are actually two very different animals. (And animal is the right word -- perhaps uniquely amongst contemporary novelists, Chuck Palahniuk writes novels that seem to live in the reader's hands, often threatening at any minute to lunge for the throat.) While most of the film's incidents are in the book and much of the razor-sharp dialouge is reproduced directly from the page, the book actually has a far greater satiric edge than the film. Whereas the film used the story as a celebration of nihilism, the book is far too self-aware to allow itself to truly celebrate anything. As such, it becomes less a call to action and more a devastatingly real portrait of a society that has become so commercialized and codified that even the once primal act of revolution becomes just another submission to pop culture.
Fight Club is the story of an unnamed narrator, an insomniac yuppie who spends his days helping insurance companies get out of having to pay their claims. He wanders through a meaningless life until he discovers the emotional release of attending therapy groups for people suffering from various deadly (and rather embarressing) diseases -- all of which the narrator pretends to have. When the arrival of another "faker" (the wonderfully dark Marla Singer, whose role is far less central in the book than in the film), the narrator finds even the shallow comfort of testicular cancer self-help groups has been taken away from him.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Trixie on May 29, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're coming to the book after seeing the film-it's ok to raise your hand here as your reviewer did also-you'll see the screenwriter pretty much took the book's contents verbatim. What's missing are a few funny moments like Marla's unwitting part in the soap-making process and some disturbing details of her's and Tyler's sex life. Plus a different and more satisfying ending (c'mon, you didn't think the narrator and Marla were really in love did you?)Palahniuk's jump-cut, stream-of-consciousness style take a little getting used to, but this is a clever black comedy that leaves you with more to think about than the punchlines when it's over. It's about a culture of numbness, where Huxley, not Orwell, was right and the only way to feel is to drive yourself to the limits of physical pain or destroy something beautiful. You've probably seen the movie and giving away plot details would just detract from the experience. Just read it!
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful By "amazonedude" on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Chuck Palahniuk's debut novel, "Fight Club," is one of the greatest, provocative, and enlightening books written for our generation. It's a must-read, with a brilliant story, a writing style wonderfully crafted to depict the real world for as disgusting as it is, and a mischievous character who goes by the name of Tyler Durden, who's out to change the grotesque problems of modern-day society, for good.
--And great brain food. There are some issues and statements given in this book that really make you think especially about how we're defining "progress" for humanity. How do we define success and progress, but by how big of a house we have, or how much we have in the bank, or how pretty our wives look? In this book, the anti-society society "Fight Club" determines success by how little you have.
"Only until we lose everything, are we free to do anything."
Tyler Durden, Fight Club--the movie
Modern-day consumer-driven cultures have begun to press down on people to the breaking point, and now Tyler Durden has started his own therapy group that is growing rapidly in number by each session. It's a therapy group, unlike most of the others, and instead of giving you guided spiritual meditation and opening your chakras, it promotes violence, pain, and self-destruction. It's a group where aggressive males are sporting organized fight sessions to empower themselves by hitting rock bottom. Its called "Fight Club," and it's rapidly spreading in bars all over the United States.
But I've probably said too much already. "First rule of fight club is you cannot talk about fight club, and the second rule of fight club is you cannot talk about fight club.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dan Seitz on December 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I got this book because I was curious. I knew the movie was coming, and it was being praised as a gutsy piece of filmmaking (turns out it wasn't; go to my review of the DVD for more on that.) So I ordered it from the bookstore of a good friend.
Within two months I'd read it five times.
"Fight Club" is a truly rare book, a fast-paced thriller that's also got some very deep points to it, yet is as technically clean and sharp as a laser-cut diamond. The structure is nothing short of amazing. Read it a few times and you realize Palahniuk has created a book that's all most perfectly balanced; everything ties into everything else. As an example; early in the book, Tyler Durden tells our narrator that "a moment is the most you can expect of perfection." Later on, this line is repeated, and you realize, for a moment in our protagonist's life, he had perfection and now he's losing it.
There are dozens of other examples (this book is a goldmine on how to foreshadow and flashback), and I could go into an analysis of the deeper themes, but I'll spare you the English lecture. Even if you're not a fan of J.G. Ballard, even if you think you'd be turned off by this book, read it anyway. You really will not find a better written book from the last decade.
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